Blog of the week goes to an excellent post from David Didau who provides a useful summary of a recent research report into learning called: ‘Learning about learning: What every teacher needs to know.’
The research picks out 6 things teachers can do to make a difference:
Pairing graphics with words. Young or old, all of us receive information through two primary pathways — auditory (for the spoken word) and visual (for the written word and graphic or pictorial representation). Student learning increases when teachers convey new material through both.
Linking abstract concepts with concrete representations. Teachers should present tangible examples that illuminate overarching ideas and also explain how the examples and big ideas connect.
Posing probing questions. Asking students “why,” “how,” “what if,” and “how do you know” requires them to clarify and link their knowledge of key ideas.
Repeatedly alternating problems with their solutions provided and problems that students must solve. Explanations accompanying solved problems help students comprehend underlying principles, taking them beyond the mechanics of problem solving.
Distributing practice. Students should practice material several times after learning it, with each practice or review separated by weeks and even months. This is sometimes called the ‘spacing effect’
Assessing to boost retention. Beyond the value of formative assessment (to help a teacher decide what to teach) and summative assessment (to determine what students have learned), assessments that require students to recall material help information ‘stick’. This is usually referred to as the ‘testing effect‘.
Read David’s full post here: http://www.learningspy.co.uk/psychology/learning-is-liminal/
Read the full report here: http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Learning_About_Learning_Report
This weeks blogs of the week look at challenge and how this can be achieved in various different ways across the curriculum. Both posts nicely summarise what is meant by challenge and ‘challenging work.’ They also provide a number of strategies to use in the classroom tomorrow.
- Challenge – success for all: https://classteaching.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/challenge-success-for-all/
- Great lessons number 3 – Challenge: http://headguruteacher.com/2013/01/31/great-lessons-3-challenge/
Having spent some time with trainee teachers this last couple of weeks I’ve tried to steer them towards some interesting books that have helped me develop my understanding of teaching and learning. One book in particular that stands out is – Why students don’t like school by Daniel T Willingham. In the book Willingham neatly explains a theory of how we learn and makes the argument that the way schools tend to deliver their curriculum conflicts with the way people actually learn, which may be why schools (secondary in particular) end up trying to ‘get year 11 through’ with last minute strategies rather than addressing the actual problem – are students learning things from year 7 onwards or just covering them?
Just because teachers are teaching does not mean students are learning.
This may be hard to digest, challenging the status quo of how curriculums are traditionally designed. It eeks of the phrase “but this is how we’ve always done it…”
This weeks #BOTW is from Doug Lemov’s hugely successful Teach Like a Champion blog which explains and analyses lots of different teaching methods.
In particular these blogs look into the idea of using student work (both past and present) to model expectations and de-construct answers with students.
Blog 1 – Forget the rubric, use student work instead – In this blog Dylan Wiliam suggests that rubrics quite often mean little to students and that using student work to model expectations instead is far more powerful.
Blog 2 – ‘Show call’ technique – In this blog Doug has captured on video a teacher making great use of student work in the moment to model answers during a maths lesson. If you don’t have access to a visualiser in your classroom you could use the work of students from previous years to model and de-construct success criteria.
With the start of new school year already underway, the first Blog of the week for this new academic year goes to Andy Tharby for his post Three ways to become a teacher again.
…the greatest teachers I have worked with seem magically to combine both – a wonderful depth of subject knowledge and an acute empathetic understanding of how school makes young people feel. That’s what I’m gunning for this year.
This weeks blog of the week isn’t a blog but a video of David Weston’s recent TedX talk.
In the talk David outlines the principles of great teachers by drawing parallels with great doctors and dancers.
Worth 20 minutes of your time!
#BOTW this week goes to Dan Brinton for his wonderful insight and dissemination of some research into what makes great teaching. As Dan outlines in the beginning of the post:
This blog is a summary of a Practice Guide by Pashler et al. from 2007, which sets out to provide teachers with specific strategies for instruction and study.
I came across it in a roundabout way via this paper by Dunlosky et al cited in the “What makes great teaching? Review of the underpinning research” by Rob Coe et al.
The central tenet of this particular Practice Guide is that learning depends on memory, which can in turn be strengthened by concrete strategies. These strategies help students to master new knowledge and skills, without forgetting what they have learned.